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Richer in money, poorer in relationship and unhappy? Time series comparisons of social capital and well-being in Luxembourg

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  • SARRACINO Francesco

Abstract

The worrying decline of social capital (Putnam, 2000) and the disappointing trends of subjective well-being (Easterlin, 1974) raise urgent questions for modern societies: is the erosion of social capital a general feature of western societies or is it rather a characteristic aspect of the American one? Is there a relationship between the trends of social capital and subjective well-being? The available evidence suggests that two of the richest countries in the world, US and Great Britain, are following negative and considerably different trends of social capital and subjective well-being than other western societies. Present work provides further evidence focusing on Luxembourg. This country is characterized by peculiar economic and social conditions: it is the country with the highest GDP per capita in the world, more than 40% of its population is composed by immigrants and about 50% of its labor force is composed by cross-borders. All these elements raise strives and tensions which are common to many European countries making Luxembourg an interesting case of study. Main results of the present research are the following: 1. the erosion of social capital is not a legacy of the richest countries in the world; 2. between 1999 and 2008, people in Luxembourg experienced a substantial increase in almost every proxy of social capital; 3. both endowments and trends of social capital and subjective well-being differ significantly within the population. Migrants participate less in social relationships and report lower levels of well-being; 4. the positive relationship between trends of subjective well-being and social capital found in previous literature is confirmed.

Suggested Citation

  • SARRACINO Francesco, 2011. "Richer in money, poorer in relationship and unhappy? Time series comparisons of social capital and well-being in Luxembourg," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-01, LISER.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pénard, Thierry & Poussing, Nicolas & Suire, Raphaël, 2013. "Does the Internet make people happier?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 105-116.
    2. Tatiana Karabchuk, 2016. "The subjective well-being of women in Europe: children, work and employment protection legislation," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 15(2), pages 219-245, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; social capital; relational goods; Easterlin paradox; time-series; economic development; EVS; WVS;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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